The Eating Disorders Coalition offers our thoughts and deepest condolences to the entire Kennedy family, especially his son and our champion, Patrick. Senator Edward Kennedy was a man of faith and perseverance on the Hill and for our country. He dedicated himself to uplifting the lives of the less privileged and inspired members of Congress to work together across the aisle on legislation that affected millions of Americans.
He championed issues such as civil rights and voting rights, SCHIP, Cobra, raising awareness of those affected by HIV/AIDS, removing stigma of those affected by mental illness, and of course health care. At the August, 2008 Democratic National Convention, Ted Kennedy tied health care to his life long theme of taking care of ALL people, as he passionately voiced, "I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore it's future to rise to our best ideals... As I look ahead I am strengthened by family and friendship. So many of you have been with me on the happiest days and the hardest days. Together we have known success and seen setbacks, victory and defeat. But we have never lost our belief that we are all called to a better country and a newer world... For me, this is a season of Hope. New Hope for a justice and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few. New Hope!--and this is the cause of my life. New Hope! --that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American, North, South, East, West, Young, Old will have decent Healthcare as a fundamental right and not a privilege!"
Senator Ted Kennedy was a fierce advocate, a tireless bridge builder between opposing forces, and a good humored man of generosity. We will miss his positive influence in American politics. We remain inspired however by his legacy and commitment to improving the welfare and quality of life for all people - especially those with less political and social power.
We are encouraged by the words he shared at his brother Robert F. Kennedy's funeral in 1968, "The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American Society."
In that vein, we will continue to advocate for meaningful health care for all - a "new idea and bold project" and turn to his words and example when we get discouraged. Thank you Senator for your years of service and dedication to issues that personally touch so many of us. We will never stop believing in the enigmatic power of public service, and in "Hope."
Jeanine Cogan, Ph.D
Eating Disorders Coalition